With plans for 18 million sq ft of commercial space and 37,000 homes, Albuquerque’s master-planned sustainable community, Mesa del Sol, was selected as an ideal test site for a collaborative U.S.-Japanese demonstration project to examine emerging technologies that digitally control and balance power generated by various energy sources, including renewables.
Upon completion of Mesa del Sol’s $6-million retrofit in spring 2012, the community’s centerpiece, the Antoine Predock-designed Aperture Center, will be home to the three-year commercial smart-grid technology test.
Story by ENR magazine on 08/11/2011,
The solar tower's design does not require any water during its power production cycle, an attractive quality in the desert Southwest.
A solar tower planned to rise just 100 ft shy of the world’s tallest building took a major step forward with the selection of Phoenix-based contractor Hensel Phelps Construction Co. as construction services provider under a guaranteed maximum price.
EnviroMission USA, a subsidiary of Australian renewable energy firm EnviroMission Ltd., is developing the estimated $750-million project, to be built on a site in La Paz County near Quartzite, Ariz. While the Australian division of design engineer Arup is still working out exact details, Chris Davey, EnviroMission USA’s president, says the 426-ft-dia. tower is expected to reach approximately 2,600 ft into the Arizona sky. The great height is necessary to attain a sufficient temperature differential to propel air with enough force to drive the turbines.
While project financing is still being worked out, the project was boosted in October by a 200-MW power purchase agreement from the Southern California Public Power Authority.
The tower generates electricity using relatively simple scientific principles. A massive greenhouse podium up to three miles in diameter will heat the surface air to 160 ˚F. Since air temperature falls 2 ˚F for every 320 ft in elevation, the difference in temperature atop the tower causes the lighter, heated air to flow upward. “Provided you can maintain the temperature differential of about 55 ˚F, you are going to operate at maximum output,” Davey says. Turbines similar to those used in hydroelectric powerplants convert the air flow into mechanical energy. Continue reading